Blair kicked off his shoes, set the computer on his lap, and looked to see if he had everything within reach. Chips, dip, beer, remote, yes, he had everything he needed to get some work done. It had been a bitch of a week with a nasty case at the PD and extra work at the U. Saturday night and he had opted for staying home and catching up instead of a night on the town with Rita in Vice. Jim, on the other hand, had given into some weird urge and made a date with Rachel a friend of Megan's from the gym she worked out at. Blair allowed himself a moment to take in such an alien notion.
Jim had a date. Weird. And the weirdest part was Rachel wasn't a thief, assassin, or dangerous psycho sentinel. Hell, she'd never even had a parking ticket. Not Jim's usual style at all. Jim on a date, what a concept. Blair wondered exactly what his partner did on dates, certainly not sex unless it was pheromone induced. Jim had quirks, not tie-me-to-the-bedpost quirks, at least as far as Blair knew, but he had strange ideas. Jim insisted that women wanted to be romanced, treated special, and respected and if they felt comfortable and the time seemed right, then nature would runs its course. Blair had never really thought of it that way, his dates always seemed to want the same thing he did; fun and sex. But Jim was more mature and did things in a different way. He might spend the night with a woman but invariably maintained nothing happened, they only talked. At first Sandburg would keep pressing for details, unable to believe nothing had really happened but as time when by and he got to know Jim better, he knew his partner was telling the truth. The only time Jim lost control was when his senses reacted to something about a woman, then Spock and his Pon-farr had nothing on the big guy.
Blair shook his head, picked up the remote and flipped the TV on. He got to work on a few papers, writing, reading and watching TV. He had a lot to do but Jim probably wouldn't be home until late if he came in at all. Blair worked steadily for a couple of hours, breezing through the material until the sound of a key in the lock startled him. The door opened and Jim Ellison walked in. Actually he seemed to be limping. Blair grinned. "You look like you've been rode hard and put away wet," he teased. "Don't tell me nothing happened, you just talked because from the way you're walking I won't believe it."
Ellison removed his coat, his movements looked rather stiff, and when he started to hang the jacket on its customary hook, he faltered. "Jim?" Blair shoved his laptop onto the couch and hurried to his partner's side. "Hey, what's wrong?" He took the jacket from his friend's hand and tossed it on the counter. When he did he got a good look at Jim's face. A bruise was beginning to discolor his cheek and dried blood was caked under his nose. Upset, Blair touched his arm, "what the hell went on at Rachel's?"
"You'll laugh," Jim said softly. Blair looked at him; pale, battered, obviously in pain.
"I don't think so." He got Jim a bottle of water then led him to the couch and helped him sit down. "Did she beat the shit out of you or what?" Blair demanded.
"Slow down, Chief," Jim ordered, "my head is killing me." He placed the chilled bottle against his forehead then rubbed it down his temple before taking a drink. "It was her cat."
Blair gaped at him. He blinked, frowned, then decided he couldn't leave the conversation at that point although Jim seemed content to. "Her cat beat the shit out of you?" He asked hesitantly. Did this bitch have a jaguar of her own? Was it bigger than Jim's spirit guide?
"No, her cat didn't touch me." Jim's tone carried a full dose of sarcasm, but Blair let it slip because a fresh trickle of blood had begun to inch its way down to Jim's lip. "I started sneezing because of the cat."
"And the sneezing made your nose start bleeding," Blair reasoned, though he couldn't factor in the bruised forehead or the whatever else was causing Jim's painful movements.
"Yeah, but it got worse when Rachel's mother punched me," Jim explained. He closed his eyes, rubbing absently at his shoulder. "You think you could get me an aspirin?"
"Uh, yeah, sure." Blair trotted to the bathroom and brought back not only the aspirin but a wet washcloth. Jim took the pills first then accepted the cloth. He sank back against the cushions with it pressed to his nose. "About the punching……"
Jim sighed, "her mother thought I was….I don't know, doing something un-natureal, I guess." Blair processed that a moment, not really able to garner even a hint of what Jim meant. He said so. Ellison sighed again, louder and said, "when my nose started bleeding Rachel screamed." He shot an accusing look at Sandburg, no easy feat given his battered condition and bleeding proboscis. "why the hell didn't Megan mention Rachel couldn't stand the sight of blood?"
"Don't look at me," Blair said, hands raised to ward off the Evil Eye, "this is why I don't set friends up with friends anymore."
Ellison subsided, not sighing this time but still managing to exude a put upon air. "She screams and knocks over a little decorative lantern thing and the smell of the lamp oil and this hideous perfume she was wear proved way too much for my sense of smell."
"Oh, Jim," Blair murmured, "say you didn't puke on her."
"Nah, missed her - got the cat though." Ellison's shoulders slumped. "So by this time I'm bleeding, sneezing and puking, not a good start unless I'm dating a nurse. I'm bent over when the light comes on."
"You were sitting in the dark?" Blair reached out to move the cloth away from his partner's abused nose, wanting to see if the bleeding had stopped. Jim held still ,letting his friend blot at a tiny streak. "So was this romantic or is she cheap?"
"Romantic," Jim said firmly, then added, "until the sneezing and puking anyway."
"So you were trying to get to first base."
Ellison scorched him with a look. "Chief, if I want I can hit a home-run and be around the bases before you've even gotten out of the batting cage." Jim's aggrieved tone made Sandburg smile, an expression he consciously wiped off his face as he rose and headed for the kitchen. Returning with the bag of frozen peas they traditionally used in such situations, Blair handed it over. While Ellison used the makeshift compress, he went to work on Jim's shirt.
"Lean up," Blair instructed. He studied the sculpted torso, seeing nothing more than the scars Jim had always carried. "Where's it hurt?"
"Shoulder." Jim hooked a thumb towards the injury. "I hit the coffee table." Blair's eyebrow asked the question. "Lights," Jim reminded him. "Her mother switched on these……floodlights. I was bent over……puking, remember, so I manage to look up just as she hits the switch." Self preservation made Sandburg swallow the giggle which threatened his life. "I stagger to my feet, slip, fall on Rachel - who screams again, and bounce off the table." He pointed to his knee. "I'll never dance again, Chief," he swore.
"You and Denny Tarrio," Blair commiserated.
"So now I'm flailing around, Rachel is yodeling, the cat is hissing and this pint-sized Mike Tyson slams one into my nose." He gazed at Blair with such a pitiable expression that Blair couldn't help himself. He leaned over and planted a kiss on his partner's cheek.
"There," he said, "feel better now?"
Jim considered a moment. "No, my nose is swollen, my shoulder is dislocated, I think I have a shattered kneecap and my best friend is driving me wild." Blair blinked, then looked down. Someone had moved his hand. Only an instant before it had been massaging the abused area around Jim's collarbone - a nice, safe this-is-what-best-friends-do kind of thing, but now it was performing some kind of lewd investigation of Ellison pectorals, paying special attention to the small nub of his nipples.
Blair drew back, shocked that he'd done such a thing but even more shocked that Jim was just sitting there staring at him. He waited, counted to five, then ten and was heading for twenty when he realized Jim wasn't going to say anything more. It was up to him. Spirit possession? Nah, too obvious. Pod person? Too cliché. "I……" Nothing else came to mind so he stopped there.
Jim leaned closer. "Me too," he whispered. He kissed Blair, not a I'm-you're-best-friend-and-I-love-you kiss but the real thing. For what seemed like about fifteen years, the world froze starting again only when they broke apart and looked at each other. Blair searched his partner's face and saw love, which was usually what he saw when he looked into Jim's eyes, only this time all the restraints on it had fallen away. It surprised him, in the back of his mind, he knew it shouldn't Jim had told him several times he loved him - but he'd always assumed it wasn't that kind of love. Blair Sandburg - wrong? Who knew.
"Jim," he breathed, "let's take this upstairs." Ellison shook his head and Blair felt his heart lurch.
"My knee," Jim reminded him, "can't take the stairs. Let's use your room."
"The bed's too narrow," Blair said with a frown. "What about putting cushions on the floor?"
"Stiff back," Jim said.
"As long as something's stiff." Blair only laughed when a gentle hand cuffed the back of his head. "Okay, how 'bout we just stay right here? We could do a little necking, nothing to injure you further," he stressed, "just a little getting to know each other." With that settled, both men went about their investigations with vigor. As Sandburg was kissing a trail over his soon to be lover's battered nose a thought occurred to him. He pulled back, looking down into Jim's eyes. "Remind me to send a Thank-You."
"Nope," Blair kissed him, a kiss full of promise and love, "to the cat."